There Goes The Green Belt

Wirral green belt

Source : DCLG 2016

One of the very few things that remains attractive about Wirral is that it is relatively green.

However in the time-honoured tradition of brutalism Wirral Council seem to be exceeding themselves when it comes to concreting over everything that’s good about the place.

Specifically we’re talking about last night’s decision to approve the building of a fire station in Saughall Massie following pretend democratic processes involving public meetings and site visits.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15425897.Campaigners_vow_to_fight_on_as_Saughall_Massie_fire_station_is_approved/

Yes, we know there’s more tedious bureaucratic processes to go through before the fire station becomes a reality but we’re sure we’re all agreed it’s the principle of agreeing to build on the green belt which is the issue. This decision will surely give the green light to build on other parts of the green belt and specifically the Hoylake Golf Resort. And what’s more it’s no good local Tories belatedly bleating about how unfair it all is!

The Planning Committee Chair is Anita Leech ( you do the punchline) and the Vice -Chair of the Planning Committee is Steve ‘Kindred’ Foulkes. So spare us the ‘feigned outrage’. We all knew what was coming next!

Indeed might we suggest that a fitting tribute would be that Foulkesy’s political career is entombed in motorway concrete. And the sooner the better!

Crabby v LRJ : The Feud Continues

jimcrabtree

Jim ‘ Crabby’ Crabtree proves once again that he’s the gift that keeps on giving in the ongoing Shakespearean feud between him and Cllr Louise Reecejones (LRJ) .

Above is a screenshot of the latest ill-advised missive that Crabby has subsequently deleted from Facebook ( on the advice of his probation officer/solicitor?)

However we particularly like the fact that Crabby has a pop at Pip.  As as far as we’re concerned the Crabby v LRJ debacle needs to be laid at the door of the hopelessly ineffectual ‘leader’ of  Wirral Council, Cllr Phil ‘ Power Boy Pip’ Davies. His failure to manage the internal strife within his own party has led to two suspensions by North West Labour and an ongoing, highly embarrassing,  spat played out on social media.

Perhaps Crabby should turn to an elder statesman of the local Labour group and all-round – and boy do we mean round-  man of integrity Cllr Steve Foulkes to guide him through the political turmoil.  However might we suggest that Foulkesy may need to alter his advice from ‘ Jumbo stay strong fella‘ to ‘ Step away from the keyboard/mobile – especially after you’ve had a few scoops’ 

But then again if Crabby really does hate liars perhaps Foulkesy isn’t the man to turn to !

Jumbo

As for expecting a ‘full apology’ from Pip, Crabby can whistle dixie as Pip knows only all too well that Crabby was probably up to even more no good than has already been disclosed.

However Pip proves once again what a coward he is when he finds it easier to allow a whistleblower to be bullied out of their job than address the concerns they raised about Crabby and the use of grant monies. And to think that Crabby still sees fit to have a pop at LRJ!  Indeed to us, it is simply astonishing , ASTONISHING !,  that this man was once the chair of  Wirral Council’s Audit and Risk Management Committee.

Meanwhile it would appear that this ongoing and long -running feud between Crabby and LRJ clearly has some way to run – and we intend to follow it every step of the way!

Comings and Goings

Pit 011

If you want to play the Wirral Council  corporate game be prepared to get down and dirty!

Last night’s Employment and Appointments Committee officially confirmed our previous reports that Wirral Council’s Head of Law / Monitoring Officer Surjit Tour is leaving Wirral Council.

There were no glowing eulogies from committee members at the announcement that Wirral Council was engaging a recruitment agency to find his replacement. Furthermore Wirral Council CEO Eric ‘Feeble’ Robinson ran through further proposals for senior management personnel changes to implement his New Operating Model – or should that be Non -Operating Model?  This included the appointment of a Director of Children’s Services on an increased salary of £115,000. This was justified with the usual excuse that we have to pay top whack to get the very best. To which we can say it hasn’t worked in the past so why will it work now? What has clearly been demonstrated by previous CEO Graham Burgess’s appointment of Super Directors which has been an abject and costly failure. And let’s not get on to Stressed Eric himself!

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=197&MId=6003&Ver=4

Of course we know that Tour was on his merry way  but curiously there was (inevitably) an exempt item on the agenda which we understand involved discussions about yet another high profile departure who has been allowed to slip the net (if you get our drift).  Suffice to say there’ll be more on that particular catch of the day at a later date.

As Surjit didn’t exit to rapturous appreciation for all he’s done for the people of Wirral we thought we’d do the decent thing and give him the eulogy he deserves.

However we’ll leave it to a clearly well placed source to provide a fitting tribute to Tour which consists of a comment from ‘ Whatever’ that is far too good to languish in our replies section. For those who may have missed it we reproduce that comment in full  below. What it demonstrates to us yet again is that Wallasey Town Hall is the absolute pits. Whilst we’ve known about the infamous ‘Sex List’ for sometime and referenced it previously it stands as the epitome of how low senior managers will go to get their man (or woman). As we commented :

So it would seem that the ‘dig the dirt’ tactic is a favourite approach of senior council officers when faced with a pesky employee who won’t play the corporate game, have served their purpose or they just want shut of. We’re wondering whether it was a trick that Norman picked it up at Wirral Council or it was part of his legacy that he left behind? We say this as we are reliably informed that two acting very senior officers at Wirral Council went digging for dirt from staff in an infamous case from 2015 .The dirt concerned allegations of sexual impropriety involving a now departed senior council officer . So far, so sordid. However, for us , what is even more sleazy is that the approach came with the  inducement that it would be beneficial to staff member’s careers if they dished the dirt. Nice work if you can get it and you can get it if you have absolutely no morals,ethics or integrity. What did we say in yesterday’s post about Wallasey Town Hall being a cesspit?

Dirty Work

We can only hope that the next victim of the ‘Curse of Leaky Towers’ is slimy Deputy CEO David Armstrong ( and we know how upset he gets being badmouthed on social media). He can boo-hoo all the way the bank as as far as we’re concerned as in his own way, he’s absolutely everything that’s wrong with Wirral Council. In another time and another place and where the get out was ‘ I was only following orders’ he’d be a very dangerous man indeed.

Meanwhile courtesy of ‘Whatever’ here’s ‘Surjit’s Eulogy’ :

I hope we can send to Mr Tour’s new employer a list of Wirral tax payers issues as the tax payers of York did with Mr Halliday.

Mr Tour’s replacement will have a long list of “things to do” which he/she should read asap –

For example perhaps, whatever happened to the letter signed by Mr Foulkes (probably written by labour policy adviser and Labour scrutiny support) sent to Mr Wilkie outlining in a way not appropriate for public office ( yet more training needs) just what Mr Foulkes et al thought about Mr Wilkies staff structure which included the promotion of none other than Ms Degg to deputy CEO ?

Indeed what happened to those 2 people (Adviser and Scrutiny) from Leeds way *  (* Hebden Bridge actually) ?- well whatever you say about Norman, he was the only one who at least tried to tackle them. Norman left and Mr Tour picks up the rotten dirty baton and title. Did Mr Tour prevent the “not in line with guidelines” payments made to one of those women – er, no and has he closed this case or as he let it drift into obscurity, a key feature of Tour is drift, drift long enough and it will be forgotten.

These 2 women were loyal supporters of Foulkes, (nothing wrong with that other than inconsequent personal opinions on bad judgement) when Mr Foulkes was told to get legal advice after his letter writing. Cllr Foulkes stood down as forever leader and up popped Mr Davies, who was told to drop the supporters or no leadership role for him. Mr Davies did as he was told for the sake of group or himself and his awaiting career of leadership.

Can’t quite remember the figure of toxic debt written off, in the high millions, these 2 women summoned the Council directors separately to go to Leeds (or wherever it is up that way) where they would “tell” the directors what their budgets were. Everyone knew it was these 2 women running WMBC for years Foulkes was the willing puppet and the Directors racking up excessive mileage claims for Wirral Tax payers to pay.

Mr Davies had to be trained in fist clenching and smoke screens, up pops Mr Field with some tale of whistleblowers and Hespe contracts (Labour group hated with a passion anyone who was perceived to work too closely with Cllr Green .. Ms Degg and Mr Green to name 2). Did Mr Tour ever write a letter to Frank Field telling him that WMBC is not his private purse to pursue his smoke screens with payments to non whistleblowers ?

So back to Ms Degg, well we have all read and heard enough about Ms Degg and what we consider to be un sound judgement on the men in her life but that is of no concern to us unless it prevented her from carrying out her paid function, whatever that was. However when it does become our business is when 2 members of staff are paid off one via the ever helpful EVR (normally given to failed directors without spine and employee jumpers) and the other a recent settlement. These 2 members of staff were hauled in by Mr Armstrong Ms Hyams and of course the ever present in the shadows “it wasn’t me” Tour, this trio on our behalf felt compelled to get to the bottom of £48k payment made to Ms Degg by one of the too many ex chief execs as an apology again on our behalf for not becoming the deputy chief exec and for the hurt feelings caused by the school ground tactics of certain Labour councillors and senior officers (including the Trio). If only they wouldn’t but again on our behalf this highly paid Trio (with the knowledge of Cllr Phil Davies) asked, no demanded to know the ins and outs of Ms Degg’s sex life, asked for rumours anything these 2 members had on Ms Degg.
Thank the lord these 2 members of staff stuck two fingers up to the bullying trio .

“list of things to do”; clearly through actions Mr Tour thought this payment made to Ms Degg (although he must of agreed it in the first place) was unlawful in some way.

The 2 well liked members of staff wouldn’t play ball and you didn’t get your own underhand way, Tour, Hyams (who really didn’t like Degg and the feeling was mutual) and Armstrong (who once was a nice bloke I hear) even though 2 of the trio pulled out the appalling and should be left for the movies, tactic ” signing the statements would / would not help their careers”

The poor person going round asking for money for Tour’s leaving present probably stopped saying “awww he’s a nice man its a shame” pdq. I don’t think it was his match made in heaven (how many grievances !!) PA who accepted her redeployment to Tour’s PA role with “I’m not working for him” but soon shut up when she realised she was onto a good thing, the amount she read and helped shred would, like her boss keep her in a job as long as she wanted it.”

 

‘Ask not what the whistleblowers have done for themselves – ask what they have done for Wirral ….’

Nick Warren 017

The ‘whistleblowers’ in this particular case being those curious specimens who seem to be ‘courted and feted’ by the most powerful political figures on Wirral and still don’t seem to be able to cut themselves a lucrative deal . What’s that about?

Nick Warren 017

We say this as an even more curious Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request has been brought to or attention.

We note that Wirral Council’s nemesis Martin Morton is still – after all these years – on their case. We also note that Wirral Council have been forced to release parts of what seems to us to be the flimsiest report of all time.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/nick_warren_investigation_report#incoming-985784

Nick Warren 017

Regular readers will know that the Nick Warren report is the means by which Wirral Council (or more specifically the Labour administration) hope to extricate themselves from the most damning scandal in Wirral Council’s history.

Yes, just think about that for a moment.

Nick Warren 017

Whilst friend of Frankenfield , Nick Warren, invites us to consider what these particular whistleblowers have done for Wirral , we’re not allowed to find out what their magnificent achievements exactly are because it would appear that Morton ,in particular, and the people of Wirral in general, are not allowed to know. Apparently we’re just expected to shut up and stump up the shush money!

Nick Warren 017

So based on what we know if Warren is posing the question what these particular whistleblowers have done for Wirral we’d have to answer : ‘ FUCK ALL’ because as far as we’re concerned there is ‘FUCK ALL’ available in his report to base our answer on!

And so it would seem we’re a long way from the JFK ideal of selfless idealism. But then again he was a shady character wasn’t he? And let’s face it he was a politician!

All we can say is that it’s a shame there isn’t a grassy knoll available to blow certain local politician’s brains out – now that’s a ‘Warren Commission’ we could support!

Low Standards

Standards 2017 011

So here we go again – it’s June so that must mean another Wirral Council Standards Panel cover -up is upon us – or maybe not!

This time round it’s not the Wirralgate cover -up – and if  certain councillors think they’re out of the woods on that one they’re very much mistaken – but more on that another time.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/behind-closed-doors/

We’re hoping that meeting may enable us to get to the bottom of a particular mystery that emerged from the Jim ‘Crabby’ Crabtree court case earlier this year when the disgraced former councillor was convicted of making a telephone call to Cllr Louise Reecejones where he threatened to kill her. During the threat reference was made to a seemingly random sum of £19,000. As we have previously reported we have never been able to get to the bottom of the significance of this particular figure.

Mystery Figure

Mystery Figure Update : None the wiser

However it would seem that all may revealed at a Standards Panel to be held next week- or maybe not ! We exclusively gave you the heads up that this meeting was on the way :

Political Manoeuvres In The Dark

Consequently , the Standards Panel meeting was listed on the Wirral Council website last week and then mysteriously disappeared and then reappeared. This was all very reminiscent of last years’ never-ending Standards Panel shenanigans.

Council insiders tell us that complainants in this case have made it known that they want the proceedings to be public but have been advised that that will be decided by the panel on the evening of the meeting.
We are also told that all 3 complainants and Cllr Reecejones will be allowed to submit an ‘opening statement’ explaining why they believe that it is in the public interest for proceedings to be either open or closed . We’re sure panel members can be swayed in favour of openness and transparency – or maybe not!
Let’s just hope intrepid reporter John Brace doesn’t have a wasted journey like he did last June (see ‘Behind Closed Doors’ story above) where he had to endure the indignity of being shut out of the Standards Panel which discussed Cllr Steve Foulkes flagrant dishonesty . We understand that council officers resorted to extraordinary lengths to keep Brace out of the meeting by blocking the door to the Committee room where the meeting was held . So when it comes to disregarding standards in public life and protecting the powerful it was a case of ‘how low can you go?’ Apparently in Wirral Council’s case it would appear to be lower than a rattlesnake’s belly!
Nevertheless it will be particularly interesting to find out as to whether Cllr Reecejones  will be afforded the same privileges and protection that her illustrious colleague Foulkesy enjoyed , especially when they’re are some interesting personal dynamics within the Labour group when it comes to this particular case.
However with Cllr Moira McLaughlin,  the chair of the  Standards  and Constitutional Oversight Committee in attendance, we‘re sure that the conduct of Standards Panel meeting will be beyond reproach – or maybe not!……….

 

Green ‘N’ Gone

 

Jeff Green

So farewell then Cllr Jeff Green as leader of the local Conservative group.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15272929.Wirral_Council_Conservative_group_has_a_new_leader___Jeff_Green_ousted_after_15_year_reign/

We won’t be shedding a tear as we were never a fan. We regularly made the observation that he was someone who seemed more comfortable being in impotent opposition than being in a position of power.

As we know Green briefly reaped the rewards of the Martin Morton whistleblowing scandal by getting the backing of the Lib Dems to oust Labour leader Steve Foulkes and to subsequently become the leader of Wirral Council.

However his tenure as leader was short lived and he seemed relieved to resume the position of a perpetual purveyor of “‘faux outrage” (to quote Labour councillor Matthew ‘Matty Patty’ Patrick) . Meanwhile the returning Labour administration, this time under Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies, went back to their bad old ways – cover ups, secrecy and cronyism – all in the name of rampant reputation management.

All of which meant that the seismic shockwaves that were supposed to result from a series of whistleblowing cases ended up being no more than mere tremors.

Of course Green should have read the writing on the wall ( or more accurately the writing in the first Patricia Thynne investigation into the Wirralgate scandal ) when Foulkesy described him as ‘kindred’.  As both are now ousted party leaders their bond can only be closer.

As far as we were concerned his apparent complicity with the Wirralgate scandal revealed in the second Thynne report is his biggest failure when it comes to trying to hold the Labour administration to account. His compliance resulted in the biggest scandal in Wirral Council’s history to be all neatly wrapped up in an unwarranted apology from Foulkesy to Green.

WIRRALGATE! – A Portrait in Green and Yellow

We shall wait and see as to whether Green’s successor as Tory leader , Cllr, Ian Lewis adopts the same collusive approach as Green and takes to winking at his oppo, Power Boy Pip, after declaring how ‘outraged’ he is about the latest Wirral Council cock up.

Gilly Keeps Bad Company in Claughton

Claughton mafia

Pic courtesy of Wirral Globe : We’ve edited the innocent party on the left (if there is such a thing)

Decorum – admittedly not our strong point – prevents us from commenting on the previous incumbent as councillor for Claughton but as you can see from the gormless picture above (‘Thumbs up everyone!’) Gillian Wood is the newly elected third councillor for Claughton after a spectacularly underwhelming 30% voting turnout.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15267875.Labour_keeps_control_of_Claughton_in_by_election/

Jolly Gilly , all perky in polka dots , finds herself flanked by the two other councillors for Claughton who we regard to be the two most dishonest and disreputable politicians at Wirral Council (well, now that Jim Crabtree has finally been found out) . Cllr George Davies and Cllr Steve Foulkes  (for it is they) then find themselves flanked by the two politicians who have scandalously sustained them in their positions of power. So it’s a thumbs down from us for council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies and Birkenhead MP Frank Field as we find ‘The Crafty Foxes’ all present and incorrect in the same corny photo-op.

Did Power Boy  Pip suspend Cllr George Davies when he heard the tape where he heard his namesake racially abuse a senior officer of Wirral Council and offered a ‘sweetheart deal’ to a favoured group of complainants ? Of course he didn’t – Frankenfield was having none of it. Gorgeous George is his political agent and Pip is weak.

Did Power Boy Pip persuade Cllr Steve Foulkes to stand down when Foulkesy received his mayoral nomination in an attempt to prevent bringing the local Labour Party into further disrepute. Of course he didn’t – Foulkesy was having none of it. He’s shameless and hardfaced and Pip is weak.

Does Gilly know what’s she’s letting herself in for , does she care or will she succumb to the lure of ‘scroundrelism’?

Wirral Council Scoundrels : Five Years On

Meanwhile Her Ladyship asks the pertinent question as to why Frankenfield looks like a vintage municipal binman? Could it be the poverty tourist and virtue -signalling gesturist is going for some retro street-cred?

The Crafty Foxes

Crafty Foxes

We’re grateful for those people who send us interesting pictures of Leaks favourites that they come across on social media. Although it has to be said that when it comes to Cllr Steve Foulkes we have a gift that just keeps on giving.

Here is our least favourite Wirral Council fucker -upper after apparently having a drink in a pub called ‘The Poachers’ (!) . As you can see , a relaxed and casually-attired Foulkesy poses next to a barge called ‘The Crafty Foxes’ . Now we can’t work out if this picture means Foulkesy is all-knowing or knows nothing at all.  But what we do know that if Frank Field, Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies and Cllr George Davies were in the picture it would make perfect sense. In fact it would be so self-referential it could be called ‘meta’.

We say this as we have recently discovered yet more about the ‘Wirralgate’ scandal and in particular the involvement of pathological liar Foulkesy. So having lied incessantly in the first Wirralgate investigation conducted by a seemingly gullible and negligent consultant Patricia Thynne, Thynne was called back in to earn another £17K wedge for cleaning up her own mess. This is astonishing when you consider the world and her husband knew Foulkesy had transparently lied during her first investigation. Although those who could actually do something about it just sat on their hands, shut their mouths, and/or kept cashing the cheques.

Thynne put it more diplomatically than we would by stating in her 2nd report: “I am not persuaded by the evidence of Cllr Foulkes ……..I found it difficult to get Cllr Foulkes to be precise or detailed . His responses were vague,inclined to be evasive and I found them ‘economical with the truth’ and unconvincing”

WIRRALGATE! – ‘Foulkesy the Fibber’

Or as we’d say – he’s a big fat fucking liar.

Let’s rewind : If you remember Wirralgate concerns a cover up involving all of ‘The Crafty Foxes’ named above.  It all started off with Frankenfield telling some wingebag wanting to scam some money off the Council because him and his mates claim to be ‘whistleblowers’  (yeah right!) to stop causing trouble and threatening staff at Wallasey Town Hall and to expect a call from his political agent  Cllr George Davies .

Davies duly calls ( unawares that he is being recorded) and goes on to tell the bogus ‘whistleblower’ that Foulkesy is still having grief for being a monumental failure and in the game of whistleblowing political football they need an equalizer to get at (equally appalling) Tory leader Jeff Green and he needs to  forget about due legal process and calls Wirral Council’s Head of Law Surjit Tour  ‘a bloody useless Chink’ (like you do!)  and promises to sort him and his guys out if they provide him with a document that Foulkesy remembered reading years before in former Head of Law Bill Norman’s files.  The ‘whistleblowers’ obligingly hand over the document and subsequently Foulkesy hands over the document to the former political editor of Liverpool Echo Liam Murphy (like you do!). As we know from Thynne ‘s second report Murphy went on to make a covert recording of the Wirralgate covert recording and played it to Wirral Council’s Head of Communications (like you do!). Liam Murphy is no longer the political editor of Liverpool Echo (go figure!)

All of this will be familiar to regular Leaks readers but here’s the thing :

THAT DOCUMENT THAT FOULKESY CLAIMED TO HAVE SEEN IN BILL NORMAN’S FILES WAS NEVER THERE – IT WAS WRITTEN ON DEMAND BY ONE OF THE ‘WHISTLEBLOWERS’

So more lies from Foulkesy and more evidence that the ‘Wirralgate’ complainants are no more than opportunistic scam merchants and an explanation of why they will never do the right thing and expose REAL Wirral Council corruption – because they’re up to their necks in it and only interested in the money. And yet the two most prominent politicians on Wirral – Pip and Frankenfield – are willing to indulge them with bespoke inquiries into their overblown claims for compensation. Even Pip said they were using the recording of Cllr George Davies to extract money out of Wirral Council and yet is seemingly willing to go along with it!

Funny that isn’t it?

Unfortunately the joke’s on us – as it’s us who has to pay highly paid public servants to protect a corrupt political elite. Shame on them all but particularly ‘The Crafty Foxes’ !

 

 

A Tale of Two Martins

lombardy-poplar-012

Did anyone notice the fascinating juxtaposition on pages 26 and 27 of the print edition of this week’s Wirral Globe?

The story on the left concerns the dubious appointment of Martin Liptrot to a Wirral Council ‘non-job’ and the story on the right concerns the even more dubious situation of Martin Morton who has ‘no-job’ as a result of Wirral Council . The above picture is for illustrative purposes only. The stories behind the headlines can be found here :

Pip’s Pay Pal – THAT Liptrot Appointment

Truth Justice Accountability

Curiously we have found out that both Liptrot and Morton are both alumni of that hallowed educational establishment that was known as Wolverhampton Polytechnic – although we don’t know if they attended at the same time or whether their paths ever crossed or what faculty they attended. Although in Liptrot’s case we assume there was a Department of Dark Arts.

As a modern morality tale I don’t think we can get better than ‘ A Tale of Two Martins’.

The teller of truth and the spinner of truth and how we , as a society , value them.

Witness as Morton the teller of truth refuses to work with people in whom he has no trust and confidence . The corrupt liars ( Cllr Steve Foulkes, Cllr George Davies) and the cowardly enablers ( Cllr Phil Davies and all those council officers who sacrifice their personal and professional integrity on the altar of a lucrative career  – Blott, Tour, Armstrong , Robinson et al ) . This is detailed in a quite astonishing career-ending email sent by Morton to all 66 councillors and Birkenhead MP Frank Field in December 2014.

We’re not sure that as a spinner of truth that Liptrot would ever concern himself with the abuse of power , the corruption and the lies raised by Morton. Not when there’s £350 a day to be had anyway!

Interestingly enough Cllr George Davies was bemoaning at this week’s Cabinet meeting that Wirral Council’s woes were a result of ‘Thatcher’s children’ .  Although Gorgeous George may not be the most eloquent or insightful political commentators around and on the assumption that he didn’t mean Carol and Mark Thatcher , we have to say that we agree with him. Open your eyes Cllr Davies – the venal ,self serving and uncaring are all around you and are running the show at Wirral Council and indeed at institutions up and down the country. Might we suggest he’d do well to look beyond complaining about the austerity measures thrust on Wirral Council by central government and consider that some people are doing very well financially out of running down public services.

 

We may well look back one day and say that these were the best of times for the unholy alliance of middle class charlatans and working class chancers (Thatcher’s children indeed!) and the worst of times for everyone else.

Where Are They Now? Part 3 – Anna Klonowski

klonowski

A Valentine’s Day lament : Roses are red, Anna’s in blue,playing the game,cash she’ll accrue

We return to one of our occasional series. This particular one brings you news of the great and the good who have graced our blog with their presence. Sadly for us that has not hindered their progress towards high office and more importantly for them, the bank.

This blog post features the relentless progress of consultant Anna Klonowski . As we mentioned last month it is 5 years since the Independent Review of Allegations Made by Martin Morton & Others report landed with a bang in a blaze of bad publicity for Wirral Council and ended in November 2013 with a whimper that was the damp squib of a final meeting of the so-called ‘Improvement Board’ which purportedly was set up to address Wirral Council’s failings identified in the report.

We now hear that Ms Klonowski has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of Bristol City Council on £160K a pop.

http://news.bristol.gov.uk/anna_klonowski_recommended_as_bristol_city_council_s

As we know Klonowski started her investigations at Wirral Council in August 2010 and when scheduled to meet the then Chief Executive Steve Maddox he promptly announced he was retiring to spend more time with his long suffering golf clubs. Three years on and with cowardly circularity Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies similarly made a swift exit at the aforementioned Improvement Board when whistleblower Martin Morton stood up to speak .

Although it must be said Davies had every reason to have the squirts. Morton tells us he regrets not specifically mentioning that the misconduct of Labour councillors Steve Foulkes and George Davies was one of the main reasons why he could not return to work for Wirral Council as it might have saved him 3 years of stonewalling and cover up. Sorry Mart, but we have to disagree with you on this one – stonewalling and cover up is like breathing to these people.

We understand that during her ‘investigation’ Klonowski bemoaned the fact to Morton that local authority investigative work was drying up. We suggest that this might explain why the investigation took so long. Despite the fact that Klonowski was on the case from August 2010 to  January 2012 and handbagged a £250,000 pay cheque and cost Wirral Council another £150,000+ as a result of legal advice and putting up Anna in her own Aparthotel in Liverpool , she summarily failed to complete what she was commissioned to do, and that was to FULLY investigate the whistleblowing allegations brought to her attention.

With a background in CIPFA ( Chartered Institute of Public Finance) it was clear that Klonowski was way out of her depth when it came to tackling the more problematic social care issues that Morton ( & unnamed and redacted others told her about ).

Klonowski was much more at home discussing corporate governance issues which led to the ‘Refresh & Renew’ report which was published in October 2011 . It’s just such a shame that this was not her brief. She returned to the CIPFA comfort zone in the Independent Review report itself were there are pages and pages and pages of endless, tedious observations about Wirral Council’s Internal Audit.

This led to some shameful omissions on Klonowski’s part. Morton tells us his most significant whistleblow concerned the death of a vulnerable young man who died whilst the staff who should have been giving him his medication were allegedly at the bingo.This received a couple of lines in her report!

The staff involved worked for an organisation by the name of Assisted Living Services (ALS). This organisation had links to drugs money laundering and yet were owned by former Merseyside Police CID officers. Strange bedfellows – or perhaps not! It was left to a subsequent investigation to identify these connections so we can only presume Klonowski either couldn’t be arsed or was warned off by ‘interested parties’.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/corporate_governance_committee_m#outgoing-259991

As you can read no serious case review was undertaken into the death – instead Wirral Council saw fit to persecute Morton and respond to false allegations that he was in cahoots with disgruntled staff to bring down ALS. An investigation into the allegations against Morton led the investigator to declare them as ‘a crock of shit’.

Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) considering her background in finance Klonowski also failed to address further issues of financial mismanagement involving disabled people – claiming she’d run out of time and that despite all evidence to the contrary that Wirral Council could be trusted to sort it out and left them to it ! Needless to say they never did .This is a matter we have previewed but have not got round to publishing. However whilst it is complicated story it is a cautionary tale of how a cover up is coordinated (and supported by other agencies) and something we will get back to at a later date.

Instead Klonowski sought the advice of largest legal firm in the world (DLA Piper)-like you do when someone else is footing the bill!- to come up with a convoluted and frankly ludicrous attempt to deny disabled people a full reimbursement of monies that was unlawfully taken from them on the grounds that to charge disability benefits from disabled people and not from non-disabled people was somehow not disability discrimination ! Even the shameless Wirral Council weren’t prepared to sustain this unsustainable argument and conceded that £736,000 should be repaid , despite DLA Piper giving them a get out.

Is it us? – or it is entirely perplexing that someone so seemingly intent on maximising their own fees wants to minimise the repayment of unlawful charges to disabled people – or are they in any way related? I think we should be told!

You won’t be surprised to hear that Morton wanted to raise these omissions with La Klonowski herself. After an unanswered telephone call and one email Special K set the hounds of law on him . Yes! , you guessed it – DLA Piper!

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Isn’t it funny that Klonowski had ‘no on-going obligations to liaise with interested parties’ and yet sat on Wirral Council’s Improvement Board during this time (reputedly for £1,000 a day) . Again we can only presume that ‘interested parties’ is defined by their ability to pay.

Even more damning we understand that she was quite happy to discuss her concerns about Wirral Council with opportunistic ‘complainant’ Gary Downey . Downey alleges that Klonowski disclosed to him during the first Wirral  Council vote of no confidence vote in the then current leader Steve Foulkes ( aka Foulkesy ) that she hoped he didn’t lose as she had no trust and confidence that Wirral Council Tory leader Jeff Green would do anything about Wirral Council’s toxic culture. Whilst she may have called that one correct it also means that she subscribes to the Martin Liptrot school of political neutrality. Either that or she was taken in by Foulkesy’s cheeky chappy persona and his ‘bible-like’ devotion to her recommendations for cash-money purposes.

Nevertheless in conclusion it would seem that it all worked out well for Klonowski in the end. For unemployed Morton and the long suffering council tax payers of Wirral – not so much !